Posted in: Capital and People
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Has anyone tried to get health insurance lately? I haven’t had it since I stopped working for Jackson County, Oregon in 1994. It’s simply prohibitive. For many years, I couldn’t get the non-smoker rates, because I still smoked my daily cancer stick, but I’ve cut that out now. My wife started worrying about not having it, so I said, “enroll at Pima Community College and get the insurance the college kids get.” She did, and what a sad, sad joke that was. The doctors in town looked askance at the company, whose reputation in Tucson is apparently not good, and when the bills came in, they paid a paltry fraction. For this we were out well over a grand per semester, i.e., four-month period. Given our health care needs, it made more sense to keep it in the bank, pay for doctor visits out of cash, and if catastrophe hits, just plan on declaring bankruptcy.
I’ve worked for adult entertainment industry clients for the last nine years. Without making too many assumptions, I think it is a safe bet that people in this industry rarely obtain health insurance for themselves or their employees. Content producers often fail to require even basic health precautions in shooting scenes where models are exposed to body fluids, and workplace regulations in this field are nonexistent, resulting in an epidemic of chlamidia and other STDs in the LA industry, which caused the AIDS Foundation of LA to file suit against the LA County Health Dept. Lest you think that’s unique to a dirty business, think again. There’s nothing unusual about this situation in the USA, where people are frequently exposed to hazardous substances while working at jobs that provide no health insurance.
Why Are Americans So Sick And Why Is It So Costly To Heal Them?
Excuse me, but the elephant in the room passing nasty gas is called Fast Food and the Sedentary Lifestyle. The major killers are heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes. Christ, I talked to a young man at Fedex Kinkos who has gout! You used to have to be rich to get gout. Now any schmo can afford it. Fast Food is the Modern Bread Line — you can always supposedly buy a burger for under a dollar. But Obama should re-enact that scene in Moon Over Parador where Richard Dreyfuss, playing the role of replacement-for-a-dictator of a banana republic who goes on TV to encourage his citizens to eat healthy, “Our Paradorean food — it’s tasty — but it’ll kill you!” But if he tried, Arby would rope him, Wendy would shock him with a cattleprod, and Ronald McDonald would follow the late Ray Kroc’s adage and “stick a hose in his mouth.”
Fact is, everything about health care is backassward in this country, due to the dominance of greedy geezers who have a chokehold on the ballot box and anti-scientific agendas that legislate morality. It’s easier for an old drunk age sixty-six to get on kidney dialysis after rotting his liver with Thunderbird wine than it is for an eighth-grader with a working mom to get cavities filled. Needle-exchanges are deemed immoral, even though they close down the major vector of transmitting contagion, while the same interest group clamors to close the borders to protect against swine flu. Swine flu, for that matter, can’t be called swine flu, because the pig farmers have fed Congress so much slop they think it’s yummy. We are tied with Poland and Slovakia with the 29rd highest infant mortality rate in the world (big improvement though since 1960, when it was 12th, but the AIDS epidemic in Africa has skewed the numbers). It’s easier to get your face shot full of Botulin than it is to get treatment for skin cancer. And let’s not forget, if you’re a pop star, you can get a daisy chain of crooked MD’s to bleach your skin, carve your nose down to a stump, and issue scrips for all the sedatives you need to cope with the pain of celebrity and ultimately sedate yourself to death. At that point, the end of you will be the beginning of a windfall for the record companies, and lawyers for your estate will protect your legacy by stemming the flood of counterfeit merchandise, because after all, people come and go, but trademarks are eternal.
I’m sorry if I sound like Keith Olbermann, but this subject makes me feel like Schwarzennegger in T2 — I’ve got a Gatling gun, an endless belt of ammunition, and an infinite supply of targets. So I’ll stop now, before I get accused of indulging in an orgy of verbal violence.
Is It Competitive In The International Economy to Require People to Buy Their Own Insurance ?
US businesses are at a competitive disadvantage with foreign companies in nations where health care is provided by the government. Case in point — health care costs for retirees are one of the primary causes of the GM bankruptcy. And take note, that in bankruptcy, the funds those retirees thought would be protected for their health care are going to be dwindling as financiers with lawyers sort through the wreckage. And it’s not rocket science or Nobel-prize economics to know that if you can’t afford health insurance for your employees, you’re not going to attract the “best and the brightest,” indeed, like me, you might not hire anybody at all, and just contract everything out.
Would Insuring People Protect A National Resource?
I have previously pondered why it is acceptable to insure banks as a matter of public policy, but not to insure the health of people. The issue is always put in the negative — it’s “too expensive to have people going to the ER for primary care,” and “health care costs are out of control,” etc. How about this for a novel thought? — People are our greatest resource, and they will be more productive and benefit society more abundantly if the have health care, food, and education. People think they only want to pay for their own kids to get health care, but conside the fact that some random kid who can’t get dental care or a college education might, if given a chance, go to school and discover the biotech solution to the cancer that you or your loved one may someday get. Or they might just reform the fast food industry and save us from our addictive appetites. Or negotiate peace in the Middle East, or … you get the idea. Incidentally, they will be less inclined to crime and spreading contagion by shooting IV drugs and letting their heads be used as semen receptacle to earn the price of a hit. But no, people are considered a burden, a mass of demands that need to have bread lines and entitlements to continue their lives as non-productive, uneducated “consumers,” and only corporations create value, so only corporations can suck the tit of Big Government.
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